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法政匯思就《2014年版權(修訂)條例草案》之意見書

2015/6/29 — 6:00

法政匯思就《2014年版權(修訂)條例草案》之意見書

A.      引言與摘要

1.       於2014年6月13日,香港特別行政區政府(「政府」)向立法會提交《2014年版權(修訂)條例草案》(「該草案」),現時正由立法會草案委員會(「立法會」)正就該草案審議。法政匯思現提交我方對該草案的意見書。綜下所述

廣告

(1)     政府否決網民就個人用戶衍生內容提供開放式版權豁免(「衍生豁免」)的建議,理由為該豁免只於2012年被加拿大所採納,未必符合相關國際公約下的三步檢測標準。

(2)     法政匯思主張採納公平使用原則以解決政府的關注。公平使用原則於美國已被採納超過35年,近年亦為其它亞洲國家所採納。

廣告

(3)    使版權制度下能容許使用者有更大的空間培養創意和創新有利於經濟發展,對香港十分重要。

 2.       按草案的條文,政府針對現行 《版權條例》(第528章)提出重大修訂,包括就向公眾傳播的權利引入新條例(第28A條),引入對服務提供者在聯線上的材料方面的法律責任的限制(第88A-J條),修改關乎侵犯版權的罪行(第118條)及提出更多的公平處理豁免(第39及39A條)等。其中最具爭議性的問題是新引入的各項豁免是否能充分地保障網民的言論及表達自由,而與此同時亦適當地平衡版權擁有者和網民的權利。

 3.       有見及此,在諮詢期內有網民組織建議引入衍生豁免。網民所提出的衍生豁免是一種開放式豁免,仿照自加拿大法律下為個人用戶衍生內容提供的版權豁免。該版權豁免要求使用者滿足3項條件:a) 使用相關版權作品是為非商業目的;b) 使用者有合理理由相信作品內容並非來自另一侵犯版權的作品並提供作品的來源;及c) 作品內容不會構成現有版權作品的替代品。只有在滿足上述條件的情況下使用版權作品,使用者才能避免招致民事和刑事責任。
4.       不出所料,政府否決了網民就個人使用者衍生內容提供版權豁免的建議,理由如下[1]

(1)    除加拿大以外,沒有其它司法管轄區為個人使用者衍生內容提供版權豁免。英國、美國、澳洲及愛爾蘭均對是否為個人使用者衍生內容提供版權豁免持觀望態度;

(2)    為個人使用者衍生內容提供版權豁免未必符合《伯尼爾公約》下的三步檢測標準,特別是該標準下的第一步,即任何版權豁免必須僅限於特別個案;及

(3)    網民就個人使用者衍生內容建議的版權豁免,比加拿大所採納的豁免範圍更廣。

5.       有見及此,政府就衍生豁免而導致香港違反其於《伯尼爾公約》及其它國際公約下的國際義務的可能性表示憂慮。令人失望的是,政府只是否決了相關建議,卻並沒有提出其它方案以回應社會就開放式豁免的需求。法政匯思希望於此意見書通過對其它已採納開放式豁免,而該開放式豁免卻未於國際訴訟地被挑戰的司法管轄區的經驗作為借鑒,廣闊就豁免版權限制及使用者權利的問題作出探討。

B.   美國公平使用原則

6.       《1976年美國版權法》第107條將公平使用的原則編纂為侵犯版權的抗辯理由(「美國版權法第107條」)。該條規定公平使用受版權保護的作品作為批評、評論、新聞報導、教學、學術或研究等用途,並不構成侵權。

7.       這個列表並不是只限於列出的例子。美國版權法第107條頒布前的草案所附帶的參議院和眾議院委員會報告表明,以公平使用作理由去豁免版權侵權是一個廣泛和靈活的原則[2]

「...... 因這原則是一項公平公正的推論規則,不可能有一個普遍適用的定義,而且每一種情況下提出的問題必須根據該情況本身的事實來決定......該草案認可了在司法上公平使用原則的宗旨和一般範圍 [...] 但沒有將這原則僵化納為法規......法院必須超越公平使用原則的廣闊法定解釋及一些適用於這原則的標準而能夠自由地按個別案例的特定情況採納運用這原則。」

8.       法院需要考慮美國版權法第107條第(1)-(4) 段中規定的四個因素以決定使用是否公平:

「(1)使用該使用的用途及性質,包括該使用是否作商業或非牟利教育用途;

(2)該受版權保護的作品的性質;

(3)相對整份受版權保護的作品,被使用部分的份額和全面程度; 及

(4)該使用對於該受版權保護的作品的潛在市場或其價值的影響。」

9.       美國的立法框架容許一個開放式的公平使用制度,將斷定個別案件的任務留給法院。這個框架的一個顯著優勢是靈活性。法院可以擴大或規範版權限制的範圍來為專有權和互相矛盾的的社會、文化和經濟需求之間取得平衡,特別是在一個互聯網快速發展的時期。這減少了不斷修改法例以勉強跟上技術發展步伐的壓力。

10.     這樣,以公平使用作抗辯可以被看作是一個抵消過度保護專有權的風險的抗衡方法。有了這個「喘息的空間」,將促使更多從社會、文化和經濟需求的角度認為較可取的且具創新性的受版權保護作品的應用。

11.     就世界貿易組織(「世貿組織」) 對「三步檢測標準」 具限制性的解釋,美國公平使用原則提供了一個更廣泛和更靈活的解釋。法政匯思意識到世貿組織於2000年6月15日對美國版權法的第110(5)條(「世貿2000」)的決定[3]。我們還注意到世貿2000在馬克斯·普朗克研究所的宣言[4]中備受詬病,陳述表明不能通過三步檢測標準中其中之一步,則不當作不能通過整個檢測,建議採納一個全面的方法來解釋檢測。此外,研究表明公平使用原則是符合「三步檢測標準」的[5]。這也許能夠解釋為何公平使用原則在世界各地不同司法管轄區生效了35年以來。從未被世貿組織或任何其他國際論壇質疑。

C.    國際趨勢及例子

澳洲

12.     澳洲法律改革委員會於去年2月發出題為《版權與數碼經濟》的報告。在報告中,委員會建議引入「公平使用」豁免及廢除澳洲版權法中現有的「公平處理」豁免。

13.     委員會強調[6]

「公平使用也有利於公共利益(包括於使用材料,鼓勵新生產力及刺激競爭和創新方面)。公平使用可以應用到比澳洲現有的豁免下範圍更廣的新技術和使用方法。公平使用爲技術中立的開放標準,能有效地對未來和無法預料的技術、以及企業和消費者慣例作出回應。有了公平使用,企業和消費者會開始理解怎樣的用途才算是公平的(而因此是允許的),並不需要等待立法機關來確定版權豁免的適當範圍。」

14.    委員會亦強調公平使用並不是一個新的原則[7]

          「委員會所建議的標準既不是新,也不是未經測試的。公平使用原則是建基於澳洲的公平處理豁免,它已經於美國法院被應用了數十年。而且它的建基可以追溯到18世紀普通法版權原則。」

15.     委員會指出「轉化性」使用為合理使用的一個有效而靈活的功能:「公平使用促進所謂「轉化性」使用將版權材料應用於一個與它本來無關的目的。」[8]

16.     委員會指出此辯護可以令受版權保護的材料於未經許可下使用,而目的包括批評和檢討、模仿和諷刺、報告新聞和引用[9]。委員會再補充:「許多使用不僅對公衆有利,而且它們一般不會損害版權人的市場,有時市場會因此擴大 。」[10]

17.    總括來說,委員會於報告中指出建議不會損害版權人的權利。

以色列

18.     以色列新制定的《版權法2007》於2008年5月生效[11]。新法例不但取代舊法例,而且代表版權問題方面最全面的法律。

19.     特別一提的是《版權法2007》中的第19條。第19條是模仿USC 的第107條,而且改善了兩大問題。第一,第19條中公平使用的第一個條件不包含此句:「包括這種使用是否是商業性質或非牟利教育目的。公平使用一般既不是非牟性,也不是用於教育目的的,但它們仍然屬於公平使用。因此,無論公平使用是商業與否,法院亦能靈活地向純規範性方面考慮而作出決定。」

20.     根據《版權法2007》第19(c)條,司法部長 (Minister of Justice) 有權訂立法規來斷定什麽情況會被視為公平使用。此舉旨在減少法律的不確定性,從而減少其影響。此外,它提供了法院與立法機關之間的制衡機制[12]

南韓

21.     在2012年,隨着《韓美自由貿易協定》生效,南韓在其著作權法中加入了第35-3條(受著作權保護的作品的公平使用)。該條文訂明: 

    「除第23至35-2條及第101-3條至101-5條所述的情況外,在不對作品的正常使用造成衝突及不致不合理地損害著作權持有人的合法利益,受著作權保護的作品可用於新聞報導、批評、教育及研究。」

22.   在判斷以上第35-3條(1)是否適用於受著作權保護的作品的使用時,須考慮以下的因素:使用的目的及性質,包括用途屬於商業或非牟利性質、受著作權保護的作品的種類或目的、所用的部份作品相對整份受著作權保護作品而言所佔的數量及重要性 、作品的使用對現有市場、作品的現有價值、潛在市場或作品的潛在價值的影響。

23.  由此可見,第35-3條(1)不但包含了三步檢測標準,在第35-3條(2)中所述,判斷公平使用時需要考慮的因素亦以美國版權法中的第107條為模範。如此一來,條文所採用的模式混合了美國開放式的公平使用制度及歐洲的封閉制度。這模式令公平使用原則跟三步檢測標準得以在同一條文中並存,因而使條文的靈活性更大。除了引入公平使用原則,南韓亦將在沒有著作權持有人批准下使用已公開的受著作權保護的作品在著作權法的第23至38條中列為例外。這做法進一步補充了公平使用原則。

菲律賓

24.     菲律賓同樣把美式的公平使用原則引入其版權法(《菲律賓知識產權法》第185條)中。第185-2條甚至更進一步涵蓋有關未出版作品的公平使用原則。

25.    第185條中的受版權保護的作品的公平使用原則:

          「第185-1條. 在批評、評論、新聞報導和教學方面公平使用受版權保護的作品,包括製作多份複印本以用於課室學習用途、學術、研究及類似目的並不會侵犯版權。反編譯,意即複製電腦程式的代碼和翻譯其形式以實現獨立創造的電腦程式與其他程式之間的互用性,亦可構成公平使用。在判斷特定情況下對作品的使用是否屬公平使用,須考慮的因素包括:

a.       使用的目的及性質,包括用途屬於商業或非牟利教育性質;

b.       受版權保護的作品的性質;

c.       所用的作品相對整份作品而言所佔的數量及實質份量; 以及

d.       使用對受版權保護的作品的潛在市場或價值的影響。

第185-2條 即使作品未經出版亦無損其使用被裁斷為公平使用,如該裁斷是基於對以上全部因素的考慮而成。」[13]

26.     撇除菲律賓將公平使用的原則擴展至未經出版的作品,全球的趨勢是採用美國開放式的公平使用原則。如本意見書所述的其他司法管轄區一樣,第185條的條文亦以美國版權法中的第107條作模範。

27.     其後,第185-1條經過修訂,加入了反編譯成為公平使用的條件。但是,應注意的是,在判斷其他種類受版權保護的作品的公平使用時需要考慮的因素維持不變。

28.     菲律賓《共和法案8293》中第185-1條因而修訂為:

「 第185-1條. 在批評、評論、新聞報導和教學方面公平使用受版權保護的作品,包括製作有限數量的複印本以用於課室學習用途、學術、研究及類似目的並不會侵犯版權。反編譯,意即複製電腦程式的代碼和翻譯其形式以實現獨立創造的電腦程式與其他程式之間的互用性,亦可在本條所確立的準則下構成公平使用,即反編譯的目的是要取得實現互用性的所需資料。」[14]

新加坡

29.     以往,新加坡的版權法就二次創作採納了普通法的公平處理。它為法院提供了四個非詳盡性的因素去決定怎樣才算侵犯版權而這合理使用的立場只適用於研究及私人研習的特定目的。這立場跟香港現時的《2014年版權(修訂)條例草案》的第39A條很相似。後來,在2006年,新加坡由合理使用改變到美國的公平使用原則而新加坡現在的公平使用原則由新加坡版權法第35(2)(a)條規管,而這條例其實是根據美國版權法第107條[15]

「(2) 就這法例而言,如要決定某種就文學、戲劇、音樂及藝術作品的處理,或該文學、戲劇、音樂及藝術作品的改編的處理,而這種處理是模仿全部或部份的作品或改編,是否應被視為公平處理該作品或改編作任何第36或37條允許的用途,應考慮的因素包括但不限于:

a.       該處理的用途及性質,包括改處理是否作商業或非牟利教育用途;

b.       有關作品或改編的性質;

c.       相對整份作品或改編,被模仿的份額和全面程度;

d.       對有關作品或改編在潛在市場價格的影響;和

e.       在合理時間及根據一般商業條款能取得有關作品或改編的可能性。」

30.      雖然,新加坡版權法引用公平使用的原則或許是因為新加坡有義務根據美國-新加坡自由貿易協議(「USSFTA」)實施該原則,事實上公平使用的概念在新加坡得到認同,由其是有新加坡案例引用美國案例。再者,公平使用原則有彈性地使用,可讓法例更容易應付新的個人用戶衍生內容。就如新加坡法律部長S Jayakumar 在版權草案2004的國會辯論中提到:

          「雖然封閉性的系統提供肯定成,它亦帶來限制因為它沒有顧及有可能被視作合理使用的新用途。當現時的許可活動被保留,修改更加完善合理使用的原則,容許其他活動根據一系列的因素去決定該活動是否屬於合理使用...我相信它們會製造一個有利於創作活動的環境,亦促成更多在新加坡的投資,研究及其他有關版權工業的發展。 

31.     總括而言,這些國家的經驗意味着公平使用的原則是亞洲版權法的趨勢而且其聲譽正在增強。公平使用的原則沒有受到挑戰是因為它與三步檢測標準沒有衝突。特別在南韓,三步檢測標準和公平使用原則同時被加入法例,這證明三步檢測標準可以作為決定某活動是否公平使用的一般性指引。至於三步檢測標準是否屬有限制性還待討論,但這無論如何是一個有創意的方法去調和公平使用原則和三步檢測標準。

D.      公平使用之經濟效益

32.     公平使用有著巨大的經濟效益。以美國為例,根據CCIA(使用WIPO方法)的一項研究[16]及「版權與模仿的經濟效應:對YouTube平台上的音樂視頻作實證研究及規管選項之評估」[17],美國的年收入中,以公平使用的例外規定而獲得的收入佔超過4.5萬億美元。數據亦顯示,歷年來公平使用的例外規定在美國創造了一千一百萬個就業機會,並對美國國內生產總值增長有顯著的貢獻。此外,研究亦顯示,公平使用的例外規定不僅對高科技企業有利,其他非依頼科技的行業,例如保險和法律服務行業亦得以受惠。

33.     新加坡也有記録顯示採納公平使用與經濟增長的關係。私人複製產業的國內生產總值增長了3.3%,而版權團體的國內生產總值則略有下降。這表明,公平使用對私人複製產業的積極影響大於對版權團體的損害。全年國內生產總值增長速度由公平使用的修訂前的1.97%上升至修訂後的10.18%。私人複製的科技群在公平使用的修訂後,收入總共增加了22.7億歐元。這些數字表明,引入公平使用會帶來顯著的經濟效益,亦可平衡各相關持份者的利益[18]

E.      建議

34.    考慮到香港的本地情況,《版權條例》的第37(3)條採用了三步檢測標準的用語:

「(3) 在決定本分部指明的作為是否可在儘管有版權存在的情況下就版權作品而作出時,基本考慮因素是該項作為並不與版權擁有人對作品的正常利用有所抵觸,以及該項作為並沒有不合理地損害版權擁有人的合法權益。」

35.     因此,在《版權條例》的第三分部採納公平使用原則的話,則三步檢測標準將會自動適用,那麼違反三步檢測標準的風險便大大降低了。故此,考慮到公平使用原則因四個額外條件而限制了其具體範圍,法政匯思建議將公平使用原則加入成為第39B條如下 

「第39B條 公平使用 

儘管有第39及39A條的規定,對版權作品的公平使用,包括複製版權作品副本或錄音製品或以任何其它方式使用,作批評、評論、新聞報導、教學(包括複製多份在課堂使用)、學術或研究用途,均不視為侵犯版權。在任何特定情況下,在決定對版權作品的使用是否屬於公平使用時,需要考慮的因素包括─

(1)    使用的目的和性質,包括使用是否屬商業性質或非牟利教育目的;

(2)    版權作品的性質;

(3)    相對於版權作品作為一個整體,被使用的部分的數量及實質;及

(4)    使用對版權作品的潛在市場或其價值的影響。

版權作品未曾發表這事實,並不阻止就對該版權作品的使用是否屬於公平作出裁斷,只要裁斷是經考慮了上述所有因素而作出的。」

36. 為了避免混亂和跟上述建議的公平使用原則有所抵觸,我們建議刪除該條例草案第39(1)(A),39(2)(A),39(4),39(5)和39A(2)條

F.      結論

37.     澳洲法律改革委員會在有關版權及數碼經濟的報告 (第122號報告) 中建議公平使用原則比公平處理原則更可取。該報告作出以下比較。

「6.19 儘管公平使用及公平處理原則所帶來的裨益有很多共同之處,一個設限的公平處理版權豁免與一個設限的公平使用版權豁免相比,會相對缺乏彈性而且在數碼化時代有較少適用之處。 要點是,在設限的公平處理版權豁免原則之下,有不少公平的使用將繼續構成侵犯版權,因為該等使用並不屬於表列下的任何一種用途。」[19]

38.     因此,我們留意到最近有更多國家正由採用公平處理改為採用公平使用原則,例如以色列、菲律賓、南韓及新加坡。 以上所有國家均已採用公平使用原則以培育創新及創意。 而加拿大亦已悄悄地從公平處理改為採用公平使用原則[20] 

39.     而且,根據世界知識產權組織在2013年6月27日於馬拉喀什舉辦關於締結一項為視力障礙者和印刷品閱讀障礙者獲取已發表的作品提供便利的條約的外交會議中獲通過的《關於為盲人、視力障礙者或其他印刷品閱讀障礙者獲得已出版作品提供便利的馬拉喀什條約》[21],該條約第十條已確認公平使用原則為本地立法中可採用的豁免情況:

「三、締約各方為履行其依本條約享有的權利和承擔的義務,可以在其國內法律制度和做法中專為受益人規定限製或例外、規定其他限製或例外或者同時規定二者。這些可以包括根據締約各方依《伯爾尼公約》、其他國際條約和第十一條享有的權利和承擔的義務,為了受益人的利益,對旨在滿足受益人需求的公平做法、公平行為或合理使用 (fair practices, dealings or uses) 進行司法、行政和監管上的認定。」

40.     不幸地,在草案的諮詢期內及在有關諮詢文件中,我們並未見到政府主動帶頭將此等全球性現象作深入的討論。 為保持本港在區內的競爭力,法政匯思促請政府必須對此持開放態度並注意區內競爭對手的發展,以確保本港在版權法制度的發展中不會滯後。

 

法政匯思

2015年6 月29 日

 


[1]  立法會CB(4)100/14-15(01)號文件 《2014 年版權(修訂)條例草案》委員會 個人用戶衍生內容 http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr13-14/chinese/bc/bc106/papers/bc1061104cb4-100-1-c.pdf

[2]  L.E. Seltzer所著《豁免和公平使用版權:在1976年版權法下專有權的緊張局勢》,哈佛大學出版社1978年,第19-20頁引述的參議院和眾議院委員會的報告。

[3]  美國 ---美國版權法第110(5)條,世界貿易組織的小組報告 https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/1234da.pdf

[4] 對版權法中的「三步檢測標準」的平衡詮釋宣言http://www.ip.mpg.de/fileadmin/user_upload/declaration_three_step_test_final_english1.pdf

[5] 澳洲法律改革委員會,在2013年經過長時間的調查和研究,得出這一結論:「...[美] 公平使用與三步檢測標準是一致的。這一結論是基於檢測的過去紀錄的分析、檢測本身的用詞的分析,以及已經推出公平使用或延伸合理使用豁免的美國和其他國家並沒有受到任何質疑的情況。」

澳洲法律改革委員會有關版權及數碼經濟的最終報告,2013年,第.116-122頁。

[6]  澳洲法律改革委員會有關版權及數碼經濟的最終報告, 2013, p.22.

[7]  澳洲法律改革委員會有關版權及數碼經濟的最終報告, 2013, p.13.

[8]  澳洲法律改革委員會有關版權及數碼經濟的最終報告, 2013, p.23.

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

[15]  Singapore Academy of Law Journal (2012) 24 SAcLJ The Transformative Use Doctrine and Fair Dealing In Singapore, Understanding the “Purpose and Character” of Appropriation Art http://www.sal.org.sg/digitallibrary/Lists/SAL%20Journal/Attachments/615/%282012%29%2024%20SAcLJ%20832-866%20%28D%20Tan%29.pdf

[16]  Fair Use Economy Represents One-Sixth of U.S. GDP

公平使用的經濟佔國內生產總值六份之一

http://web.archive.org/web/20080415213601/www.ccianet.org/artmanager/publish/news/First-Ever_Economic_Study_Calculates_Dollar_Value_of.shtml

[17]  UK Intellectual Property Office, The Copyright and the Economic Effects of Parody: An Empirical Study of Music Videos on the YouTube Platform and an Assessment of the Regulatory Options, 

英國知識産權署,版權與模仿的經濟效應:對YouTube平台上的音樂視頻作實證研究及規管選項之評估https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/309903/ipresearch-parody-report3-150313.pdf

[18]  Gilbert B (2012) ‘The Economic Value of Fair Use in Copyright Law. Counterfactual Impact Analysis of Fair Use Policy On Private Copying Technology and Copyright Markets in Singapore’

Gilbert B (2012)《版權法中公平使用的經濟價值。新加坡公平使用政策對私人複製技術和版權市場的反影響分析》http://infojustice.org/download/copyright-flexibilities/articles/Roya%20Ghafele%20and%20Benjamin%20Gibert%20-%20The%20Economic%20Value%20of%20Fair%20Use%20in%20Copyright%20Law.pdf

[19]  The Australian Law Reform Commission Report on the Copyright and Digital Economy (Report 122) 澳洲法律改革委員會有關版權及數碼經濟的報告 (第122號報告)

http://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/6-new-fair-dealing-exception/advantages-fair-use-over-fair-dealing

[20]  Fairness Found:  How Canada Quietly Shifted from Fair Dealing to Fair Use by professor Michael Giest http://www.press.uottawa.ca/sites/default/files/9780776620848_5.pdf

[21] 世界知識產權組織, 《關於為盲人、視力障礙者或其他印刷品閱讀障礙者獲得已出版作品提供便利的馬拉喀什條約》(由關於締結一項為視力障礙者和印刷品閱讀障礙者獲取已發表的作品提供便利的條約的外交會議於2013年6月27日通過) 第十條: http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/text.jsp?file_id=301016

 

Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014

Submissions of the Progressive Lawyers Group

 

A.      Introduction & Executive Summary

1.       The Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the “Administration”) tabled the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 (the “Bill”) on 13 June 2014. Currently, the Bills Committee of Legislative Council (“LegCo”) is examining the Bill. Progressive Lawyers Group (“PLG”) is writing to submit our views on the Bill. IN SUMMARY:-

(1)          The Administration rejected the netizens’ proposal for an open-end exemption, User Generated Content (“UGC”) Exemption on the ground that the UGC exemption is adopted only by Canada in 2012 which may not pass the three-step test under the international treaties. 

(2)          PLG is proposing the Fair Use doctrine which has been in operation for 35 years in United States and followed by different Asian countries recently to address the concern of the Administration.

(3)          It is important to allow greater user’s rights in the copyright law regime to cultivate creativity and innovation which will benefit the economy.

2.       Under the Bill, the Administration proposes major changes to the current Copyright Ordinance (Cap 528), including introducing the new communication rights (section 28A), safe harbour provisions (sections 88A-J), amending the criminal offence of copyright infringement (section 118) and introducing more fair dealing exemptions (sections 39 and 39A) etc. Among these, the most controversial issue is whether the newly introduced exemptions provide sufficient protection to the netizens’ freedom of speech and expression but at the same time strike a balance between the rights of copyright owners and the netizens.

3.       Accordingly, the netizens’ group proposed a User Generated Contents (“UGC”) exemption during the consultation period. The netizens’ UGC exemption is an open-ended exemption modelled after the Canadian UGC exemption which requires the users to fulfil 3 requirements: a) the purpose of the use of the copyrighted work is for non-profit making; b) the user has the reasonable ground to believe that the content is not generated from a copyright infringed work and acknowledges the source of the copyrighted work; and c) the content does not substitute the copyrighted work. Only if a user fulfils the above requirements, would the use of a copyrighted work will be exempted from the civil and criminal liabilities. 

4.       As expected, the Administration rejected the UGC exemption on the following grounds[1]:-

a.       No other jurisdictions except for Canada, adopts a UGC exemption in their copyright law regime. United Kingdom, United States, Australia and Ireland have each adopted a wait-and-see approach to the adoption of UGC exemption;

b.       UGC exemption may not pass the 3-step test of the Berne Convention, in particular, the first step of the three-step test which requires the exemption to be confined to certain special cases; and

c.       Netizens’ proposal of the UGC exemption is wider than the Canadian UGC exemption.

5.       Accordingly, the Administration expressed a concern that if the UGC exemption is adopted, Hong Kong may not be in compliance with its international obligations under the Berne Convention and other international treaties. To our disappointment, other than outright refusal, the Administration has not responded to the demand for an open-ended exemption by suggesting other alternatives. These submissions of PLG aim to widen the discussion of copyright exemption and users rights by drawing experience from other jurisdictions which have adopted an open-ended exemption but has not been challenged in the international forum.

B.      Fair Use Exemption in the US

6.       Section 107 of the United States Copyright Act 1976 codified a doctrine of fair use as a defence to copyright infringement (“s. 107 USC”).  This section stipulates that fair use of a copyrighted work for purpose such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research, is not an infringement.

7.       This list is by no means exhaustive.  The Senate and House Committee Reports accompanying the bill which was enacted as s. 107 USC suggests that the fair use exemption to copyright infringement is a broad and flexible doctrine:[2]

“….since the doctrine is an equitable rule of reason, no generally applicable definition is possible, and each case raising the question must be decided on its own facts… The bill endorses the purpose and general scope of the judicial doctrine of fair use […] but there is no disposition to freeze the doctrine in statute… Beyond a very broad statutory explanation of what fair use is and some of the criteria applicable to it, the courts must be free to adapt the doctrine to particular situations on a case-by-case basis.”

8.       In deciding whether a use is fair, a court is required to consider four factors, as set forth in s. 107 (1)-(4) USC:

“(1)   the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or it for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2)     the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3)     the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4)     the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

9.       The U.S. legislative framework allows for an open-ended fair use system that leaves the task of determining individual cases to the courts. A distinctive advantage of such a framework is flexibility.  The courts can expand or confine the scope of copyright limitations to gauge a balance between exclusive rights and conflicting social, cultural, and economic needs, especially during a period of rapid development of the Internet.  This reduces the pressure for constant changes to legislation that may struggle to keeping pace with technological developments.

10.     In this way, the fair use defence can be viewed as a counterbalance that tackles the risk of overprotection of exclusive rights.  With this “breathing space”, innovative uses of copyrighted work that are more desirable from the perspective of social, cultural and economic needs would then be encouraged.

11.     The U.S. fair use doctrine provides a broader and more flexible interpretation than the restrictive World Trade Organisation (“WTO”) interpretation of the “three-step test”. PLG is aware of the decision of WTO on United States Article 110 (5) of the USC on 15 June 2000[3] (“WTO 2000”). We also noted that WTO 2000 has been heavily criticised in the Max Planck Institute Declaration[4] in which it argues failing one of the test in the three-step test will not deem it to violate the test. A totality approach to interpret the test is recommended. Further, studies show that the fair use doctrine is compliant with the “three-step test.”[5]  This may shed some light on why the fair use doctrine has never been challenged by the WTO or any other international forums since the provision entered into force 35 years ago in different jurisdictions around the world.

C.      International trend with examples

Australia

12.     The Australian Law Reform Commission (“ALRC”) released its report on Copyright and the Digital Economy in February 2014 (“the ALRC Report”).  In the ALRC Report, the ALRC recommended that a ‘fair use’ exception be introduced and existing ‘fair dealing’ exceptions in the Australian Copyright Act be repealed.

13.     ALRC emphasized:[6]

Fair use also facilitates the public interest in accessing material, encouraging new productive uses, and stimulating competition and innovation. Fair use can be applied to a greater range of new technologies and uses than Australia’s existing exceptions. A technology-neutral open standard such as fair use has the ability to respond to future and unanticipated technologies and business and consumer practices. With fair use, businesses and consumers will develop an understanding of what sort of uses are fair and therefore permissible, and will not need to wait for the legislature to determine the appropriate scope of copyright exceptions.

14.     Further, it was stressed that the Fair Use doctrine is not new:[7]

The standard recommended by the ALRC is not novel or untested. Fair use builds on Australia’s fair dealing exceptions, it has been applied in US courts for decades, and it is built on common law copyright principles that date back to the 18th century.

15.     ALRC observed ‘transformative’ uses as a powerful and flexible feature of fair use: “Fair use promotes what have been called ‘transformative’ uses — using copyright material for a different purpose than the use for which the material was created.”[8]

16.     ALRC stated that the defence ‘can allow the unlicensed use of copyrighted material for such purposes as criticism and review, parody and satire, reporting the news and quotation.’[9] ALRC added: ‘Many of these uses not only have public benefits, but they generally do not harm rights holders’ markets, and sometimes even enlarge them’. [10]

17.     In conclusion, ALRC stated that their proposals would not undermine the rights of copyright owners.

Israel

18.     In May 2008 the new Israeli Copyright Act 2007[11] came into force. The new Act replaces the old law and represents the entire law in most aspects of copyright matters.

19.     In particular, section 19 Copyright Act 2007 (“s. 19 CA”) replicates s. 107 USC with two important enhancements. First, the first fair use factor in s. 19 CA does not include the sentence “…including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.”  Often fair uses are neither non-profit nor for educational purposes, but they are nonetheless still fair uses. This gives further flexibilities to the courts in giving decisive weight to pure normative considerations, notwithstanding commercial or non-commercial use aspects.

20.     Section 19(c) of the Copyright Act 2007 authorizes the Minister of Justice to make regulations prescribing conditions under which a use shall be deemed as fair use.  This seeks to reduce legal uncertainties thus mitigating chilling effects.  Moreover, it provides a checks and balances mechanism between courts and legislatures.[12]

South Korea

21.     South Korea introduced Article 35-3 (Fair-Use of Copyrighted Material) to its Korean Copyright Act in 2012 under the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement.  The article provides that:

Except for situations enumerated in art. 23 to art. 35-2 and in art. 101-3 to 101-5, provided it does not conflict with a normal exploitation of copyrighted work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interest of the copyright holder, the copyrighted work may be used, among other things, for reporting, criticism, education, and research.

22.     In determining whether art. 35-3(1) above applies to a use of copyrighted work, the following factors must be considered: the purpose and character of the use, including  whether such use is of a commercial nature or is of a nonprofit nature; the type or purpose of the copyrighted work; the amount and importance of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; the effect of the use of the copyrighted work upon the current market or the current value of the copyrighted work or on the potential market or the potential value of the copyrighted work.

23.     It is observed that Article 35-3.1 has incorporated the language of the three-step test while factors to be considered in determining a fair use case in Article 35-3.2 are largely modeled after S.107 of the USC. By doing so, the provision has adopted a mixed model of the open-ended US fair use approach and the European closed list approach. It allows the co-existence of the fair use doctrine and the three step test in the same provision and thus gives more flexibility to the provision. In addition to introducing the fair use doctrine, South Korea has also recognized exceptions where copyrighted works made public can be used (quoted) without the copyright holder’s permission in Art 23-38 of the Act. This has further supplemented the fair use doctrine.

The Republic of Philippines

24.     The Philippines has also incorporated the American style of fair use provision in its copyright law (S.185 Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines). It even went further to cover fair use of unpublished works in S.185.2.

25.     Sec.185 Fair Use of a Copyrighted Work:

185.1. The fair use of a copyrighted work for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching including multiple copies for classroom use, scholarship, research, and similar purposes is not an infringement of copyright. Decompilation, which is understood here to be the reproduction of the code and translation of the forms of the computer program to achieve the inter-operability of an independently created computer program with other programs may also constitute fair use. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is fair use, the factors to be considered shall include:

(a)     The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit education purposes;

(b)     The nature of the copyrighted work;

(c)     The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(d)     The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

185.2. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not by itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.[13]

26.     Leaving aside the Philippines’s expanded exemption on the fair use of unpublished work, it is observed that the global trend is to adopt the American style of open ended fair use exception. Like other jurisdictions introduced in this submission, the language of S.185 is modelled after S.107 USC.

27.     Subsequently, there was an amendment to S.185.1, which added the criteria for the fair use of decompilation. However, it should be noted that the factors to be considered in determining fair use of other types of copyrighted work remain unchanged.

28.     Section 185.1. of Republic Act No. 8293[14] is hereby amended to read as follows:

185.1. The fair use of a copyrighted work for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching including limited number of copies for classroom use, scholarship, research, and similar purposes is not an infringement of copyright. Decompilation, which is understood here to be the reproduction of the code and translation of the forms of a computer program to achieve the interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs may also constitute fair use under the criteria established by this section, to the extent that such decompilation is done for the purpose of obtaining the information necessary to achieve such interoperability.

The Republic of Singapore

29.     Previously, Singapore’s copyright law used the common law fair dealing approach to secondary creations. It provided for 4 non-exhaustive factors to be considered by the court when determining a copyright infringement and this fair dealing only applies to specific purpose of research and private study. This approach is actually quite similar to S.39A of the current Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 proposal in Hong Kong. Later in 2006, Singapore shifted from fair dealing to the US fair use and now Singapore’s fair use doctrine is governed by S.35(2)(a) of the Singapore Copyright Act which is also modelled after S.107 USC.[15]

(2)  For the purposes of this Act, the matters to which regard shall be had, in determining whether a dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or with an adaptation of a literary, dramatic or musical work, being a dealing by way of copying the whole or a part of the work or adaptation, constitutes a fair dealing with the work or adaptation for any purpose other than a purpose referred to in section 36 or 37 shall include —

(a)     the purpose and character of the dealing, including whether such dealing is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purposes;

(b)     the nature of the work or adaptation;

(c)     the amount and substantiality of the part copied taken in relation to the whole work or adaptation;

(d)     the effect of the dealing upon the potential market for, or value of, the work or adaptation; and

(e)     the possibility of obtaining the work or adaptation within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price.

30.     Although it could be said the introduction of the fair use doctrine in Singaporean Copyright law is a result of the implementation of Singapore’s commitment under the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (“USSFTA”), the concept of fair use has gained recognition in Singapore, especially when US cases on fair use are cited in Singaporean cases. It is also suggested that the flexible nature of the fair use doctrine enables the law to cope with new types of UGC. As stated by S Jayakumar, the Minister for Law of Singapore during the parliamentary debate of the Copyright Amendment Bill 2004:

While the closed list system provides certainty, it is also restrictive in that it does not cater for other new uses which could fall under the concept of fair dealing. While the current permitted activities have been retained, the amendment refines our fair dealing system by allowing other acts to be assessed according to a set of factors in determining whether these acts could constitute fair dealing…..I believe they will create an environment conducive to the development of creative works, and also facilitate greater investment, research and development in the copyright industries in Singapore

31.     In conclusion, experience from these jurisdictions entails that the fair use doctrine is a trend in Asian copyright law and is gaining more reputation. The fact that the fair use doctrine has gone unchallenged suggests that it has no conflict with the three step test. Particularly in South Korea, the language of three step test is incorporated into the provision together with the fair use doctrine, which shows that the three step test can act as a general guidance for determining whether a case falls under a fair use exception. It remains debatable whether the test should be restrictive in nature, but this is nonetheless a creative way to reconcile the fair use doctrine and the three step test.

D.      Economic benefit of Fair Use

32.     The economic benefits of Fair Use is immense. Take the US as an example, according to a CCIA study (using the WIPO methodology)[16] and the Copyright and the Economic Effects of Parody: An Empirical Study of Music Videos on the YouTube Platform and an Assessment of the Regulatory Options[17], the fair use exceptions accounts for more than $4.5 trillion in annual revenue of the US. Figures also indicated that over the years fair use exceptions has created 11 millions of job opportunities in the US and has significant contribution to the US GDP growth. In addition, the study showed that fair use exceptions not only benefit the high tech businesses, but also non-technology dependent industries such as the insurance and legal services.

33.     An economic growth related to the adoption of the fair use has also been recorded in Singapore. There was a 3.3% increase in the GDP of private copying industries and a slight decrease in the GDP of the copyright groups. This indicates that the positive impact of fair use in private copying technology groups outweigh the harm done to the copyright industries. The annual GDP growth rate increased from 1.97% before fair use amendment to 10.18% after fair use amendment. The total increase in revenue of the private copying technology group after fair use amendment is 2.27 billion Euro. These figures suggest that the economic benefit brought by the introduction of fair use is significant and that the fair use provision can balance the interests of various stakeholders.[18

E.      Recommendations

34.     Given the local situation in Hong Kong, section 37(3) of the Copyright Ordinance adopted the language of the three-step test in which it states:- 

(3)  In determining whether an act specified in this Division may be done in relation to a copyright work notwithstanding the subsistence of copyright, the primary consideration is that the act does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work by the copyright owner and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the copyright owner.

35.     Accordingly, the adoption of the Fair Use doctrine under Division III of the Copyright Ordinance will automatically apply the three-step test in its operation which greatly reduces the risk of violation of the three-step test. Therefore, given the specific scope in regard to Fair Use doctrine limited by the four additional conditions, PLG recommends that the Fair Use doctrine should be added as section 39B as follows:-

“Section 39 B Fair Use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 39 and 39A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include— 

(1)     the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2)     the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3)     the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4)     the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. 

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

36.     To avoid confusion and conflict with the above proposed Fair Use doctrine, we recommend to delete sections 39(1)(a), 39(2)(a), 39(4), 39(5) and 39A(2) of the Bill.

F.      Conclusion

37.     The Australian Law Reform Commission Report on the Copyright and Digital Economy (Report 122) suggested that fair use is more preferable than fair dealing. The Report made such comparison:

6.19 Despite the many benefits common to both fair use and fair dealing, a confined fair dealing exception will be less flexible and less suited to the digital age than an open-ended fair use exception. Importantly, with a confined fair dealing exception, many uses that may well be fair will continue to infringe copyright, because the use does not fall into one of the listed categories of use.[19]

38.     Therefore, it is noticeable that more and more countries are shifting from fair dealing to fair use recently like Israel, the Philippines, South Korea and Singapore. All these countries have already adopted the Fair Use doctrine to cultivate innovation and creativity recently. Even Canada is said to be shifting from fair dealing to the Fair Use doctrine quietly[20]

39.     Furthermore, according to World Intellectual Properties Organisation, Article 10 of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled adopted by the Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities in Marrakesh on June 27, 2013[21], the international treaty has already recognised the Fair Use doctrine as one of the exemptions to be adopted in the local legislation:-

          “3. Contracting Parties may fulfill their rights and obligations under this Treaty through limitations or exceptions specifically for the benefit of beneficiary persons, other limitations or exceptions, or a combination thereof, within their national legal system and practice.  These may include judicial, administrative or regulatory determinations for the benefit of beneficiary persons as to fair practices, dealings or uses to meet their needs consistent with the Contracting Parties’ rights and obligations under the Berne Convention, other international treaties, and Article 11.

40.     Unfortunately, throughout the consultation period and in all the Administration’s documents in relation to the Bill, we do not see the Administration has taken the lead to bring such world-wide phenomenon to the table for an in-depth discussion. To stay competitive with other countries in the region, PLG urges the Administration must keep an open mind and an eye on our competitors so that we are not lagging behind in any aspect in the development of the copyright law regime.

 

Progressive Lawyers Group

29 June 2015


 

[1] 立法會CB(4)100/14-15(01)號文件 《2014 年版權(修訂)條例草案》委員會 個人用戶衍生內容 http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr13-14/chinese/bc/bc106/papers/bc1061104cb4-100-1-c.pdf

[2] Senate and House Committee Reports, quoted in L.E. Seltzer in Exemptions and Fair Use in Copyright: The Exclusive Rights Tensions in the 1976 Copyright Act, Harvard University Press 1978, p.19-20.

[3] United States – Section 110(5) of The US Copyright Act, World Trade Organisation’s Report of the Panel https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/1234da.pdf

[4] Declaration A balanced Interpretation of the “Three-Step Test” In Copyright Law

http://www.ip.mpg.de/fileadmin/user_upload/declaration_three_step_test_final_english1.pdf

[5] The Australian Law Reform Commission, after a lengthy inquiry and study in 2013, arrived at this conclusion: “...[the U.S.] fair use is consistent with the three-step test. This conclusion is based on an analysis of the history of the test, an analysis of the words of the test itself, and on the absence of any challenge to the US and other countries that have introduced fair use or extended fair dealing exceptions.” See the Australian Law Reform Commission, Copyright and the Digital Economy – Final Report, 2013, p.116-122.

[6] The Australian Law Reform Commission, Copyright and the Digital Economy – Final Report, 2013, p.22.

[7] The Australian Law Reform Commission, Copyright and the Digital Economy – Summary Report, 2013, p.13.

[8] The Australian Law Reform Commission, Copyright and the Digital Economy – Final Report, 2013, p.23.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11]http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/sme/en/wipo_smes_ge_10/wipo_smes_ge_10_ref_topic09_1.pdf

[12] ISRAEL’S FAIR USE By Zohar Efroni http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blog/2008/01/israel%E2%80%99s-fair-use

[14] Source: http://www.gov.ph/2013/02/28/republic-act-no-10372/

[15] Singapore Academy of Law Journal (2012) 24 SAcLJ The Transformative Use Doctrine and Fair Dealing In Singapore, Understanding the “Purpose and Character” of Appropriation Art http://www.sal.org.sg/digitallibrary/Lists/SAL%20Journal/Attachments/615/%282012%29%2024%20SAcLJ%20832-866%20%28D%20Tan%29.pdf

[17] UK Intellectual Property Office, The Copyright and the Economic Effects of Parody: An Empirical Study of Music Videos on the YouTube Platform and an Assessment of the Regulatory Options, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/309903/ipresearch-parody-report3-150313.pdf

[18] Gilbert B (2012) ‘The Economic Value of Fair Use in Copyright Law. Counterfactual Impact Analysis of Fair Use Policy On Private Copying Technology and Copyright Markets in Singapore’ http://infojustice.org/download/copyright-flexibilities/articles/Roya%20Ghafele%20and%20Benjamin%20Gibert%20-%20The%20Economic%20Value%20of%20Fair%20Use%20in%20Copyright%20Law.pdf

[19] The Australian Law Reform Commission Report on the Copyright and Digital Economy (Report 122) http://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/6-new-fair-dealing-exception/advantages-fair-use-over-fair-dealing

[20] Fairness Found:  How Canada Quietly Shifted from Fair Dealing to Fair Use by professor Michael Giest http://www.press.uottawa.ca/sites/default/files/9780776620848_5.pdf

[21] World Intellectual Properties Organisation, Article 10 of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled adopted by the Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities in Marrakesh on June 27, 2013: http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/text.jsp?file_id=301016

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